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tv   [untitled]    April 21, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT

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back row. >> time frame for the book?b >> the time frame, i start with lee returning to richmond on april 15th, returns after appomatics, six days after appomatics and sees the burned city for the first time.e last so that sets up the story. then i drop back to the last week of marche to describe the city beforea it fell, and then the book comes back up through that period to when lee returned. because he returned on the day that lincoln died. so it's an a three-week period.o the core of the book is the fire, but it's about a three-week >> and how long was martial lawo and how long did the union wa troops stay in richmond? >> union troops stay add good la while and of course a military reconstructi reconstruction. the army was in evidence a good while and martial law in effect for a number of weeks.itt
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yes? >> one more question. >> talk aboubit bitterness that lasted for generations. was thatu bitterness a combination of just the fire in richmond? seeingo the loss of their city r a combination of the war's overi probably ended up surrendering,i the institution over with, slavery, so on and so forth or y the power?roying >> the fire accentuated the hardship by destroying the livelihoods of richmonders, if e there had been no fire the result of war would have been ha enough, because after all, we can rebuild buildings but hundreds of thousands of peoples died and every family affected.t that would be enough to keep that sense of bitterness alive into the next generation. the yes, sir? >> the burning of the records, counties and so on. th how did that come about, coming up to it and destroying it -- >> it's true that quite a few
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records burned. it's a shame that -- there's only one building on capitol square that burned, and it was s state office building where there were a lot of court records. the sad thing is that during the war, the confederate government and the state government moved county records from the countied and outlining areas. cour they moved them to richmond for safe keeping and they burned in the fire. of course, that, people weren'te thinking about that so much on the day of the fire, but it d caused a lot of problems later. the burn, legal records and all of the insurance -- many of theo insurance company, not all, many of them, had their offices in the burn district and that really caused problems, too. thank you very much. history bookshelf features popular american history writers of the past decade and airs on
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american tv after saturday afternoon. this weekend on history bookshelf, nelson lankford, "richmond burning." the author contends the fire spread throughout richmond, virginia at the end of the civil war was intentionally set before the union soldiers arrived, and that it was allowed to burn freely. this half hour talk was given at the fountain book store in richmond, virginia. the nixon foundation posted a gathering of former white house speechwriters who reflected on how the 37th president's messages were crafted and communicated. over the next 90 minutes they discussed richard nixon's public language from minor statements to major speeches.
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and i'm here 0 to welcome you on behalf of the nixon foundation to our tenth nixon legacy panel. we began these panels last year and have every expectation of continuing them through the centennial of richard nixon's birth in january of 2013. we sponsor these in conjunction with the national archives, and my counterpart the assistant archivist in charge of all presidential libraries will be here at the end to help us conclude today's panel. today's legacy panel is entitled "working with 37" without speech writers remember working with richard nixon. you see, soaring rhetoric alone
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cannot sustain a presidency. it takes substance. but substance without sizzle cannot persuade. every administration struggles with a combination of substance and sizzle to show presidential leadership. how that was worked out with our 37th president is the topic today. and we have an excellent moderator with us that i'd like to introduce right now. lee huebner. [ applause ] >> lee came to richard nixon's attention in 1962 as the co-founder of the ripon society at the university of wisconsin and he worked with richard nixon in what we call the wilderness years when he was a private citizen and successfully was with him in the 1968 campaign when he was elected president. so lee became the youngest
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member of a speech writeing team that started on nixon's white house staff and he was, by no means, the least contributor. he had opinion with the man for so long, he was a contributor from the very outset. at the end of his white house years, he then became the long time publisher of the international "herald tribune" and when they ended he became a full-time college professor. he taught at northwestern university and here at george washington university where he only recently stepped down as director of their school of media and public affairs. it gives me great pleasure to introduce lee huebner, a long and good friend. lee? >> thanks, geoff, very much. it's wonderful to be here to see all of you here. i should thank geoff for the wonderful job he's done of steering these nixon legacy programs over the last year and a half. and the series continues, i
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know, in good form. geoff's also been a leader in keeping nixon alumni in touch over the years. our thanks to him and everyone at the nixon foundation and the george washington university who helped to make this program, have it come together. i'm wearing my george washington hat this afternoon. in that role, it's a pleasure to welcome all of you to the school of media and public affairs. i see many students and friends here and we're all so happy to welcome those joining us on c-span. when i first joined the white house staff in 1969, there were five of us writers. and i think we'll see a picture of that group here. that picture actually hangs in my office. has been ever since then. my office is now one floor above this auditorium. we're so pleased that all four of the people on that photo who are still living are with us this afternoon. a lot of others joined the staff after that point and i think we could have a wonderful
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discussion with them someday as well. i'd like to add in looking at this photo, first of all, you'll notice we haven't changed much in 40 years. let me point out that ray price is on the left side of the picture. believe it or not, that's me next to him. then comes pat buchanan and then next in line sitting on the sofa is the chief of staff of the white house, bob haldeman. carefully taking notes as he always did. then comes bill gavin. he's followed by jim keogh. he was the first director of the white house staff. he passed away about five years ago. earlier executive editor of "time" magazine and head of the usia. ray price took jim keogh's place as director. finally to the right, closest to president nixon, you'll recognize william sapphire who died less than two years ago.
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whom we all this afternoon are thinking of with special affection. now having introduced them through their photos, let me welcome them in person and invite our white house speech writing panel to the stage. very quickly, ray price, the chief speech writer for much of nixon's tenure. joined the new york staff in 1967. he had served earlier at editorial page editor at the new york herald tribune and later as president of economic club of new york. his memoir is called "with nixon." highly recommended. pat buchanan, a journalist democrat before he became the first full-time advisor and writer in the nixon comeback efforts. he later came communications director of president reagan. you may have heard that he has been a presidential candidate
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three times i think. if i'm remembering that right. undoubtedly you've read his books and maybe seen him on television. william gavin was a pennsylvania high school teacher who wrote a fan letter to mr. nixon in 1967. soon afterward, became a key writer for him. bill is about to publish a book called "speech write" write is spelled with a w-r to signal the craft-like nature of this calling. bill is the only one of the original five who went on to a long speech writing career, three decades, working decades for senator james buckley and house minority leader bob michael. ken khachigian joined the staff after this photo was taking and in a sense represents a lot of people who came on the writing staff in later years. it might be a good program if some of them gathered together at some point. ken is a lawyer in california. republican political veteran. he worked on i think nine presidential campaigns, ken. began at the white house in 1970. worked on president nixon's
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memoirs with the president. in san clemente. the first chief speech writer for president reagan. that's the group, the panel and we're delighted they're here. we welcome them most warmly. i was asked if i would just say a few more words of stage setting. and then we can move on quickly and my colleagues can pick up where i leave off and correct my mistakes or misimpressions or confirm maybe some of the things i've said. the white house when nixon came to office was involved in what we might today call three forms of messaging, magic word. each was an independent operation. cooperating closely with one another but reporting separately to the chief of staff. bab haldman and thus to the president. some historians mixed up that point. so i think it's worth clarifying. three units then, the press office, ron ziegler headed that. dealing with the white house press core. two communications offices
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headed up by herb kline, headed -- dealt with national media contacts. then there was the writing and research staff. the first such group to have that formal name and we all dealt with the president's own words. whether they were spoken or on paper. this unit had several sub tasks, i might tick them off to set the stage here. speech writing was the most prominent. but that form had two subcategories under it. first, there was the drafting of actual speech texts. normally the president would rewrite those quite heavily. in fact, many historians say he may have been the most active of all recent presidents in rewriting and drafting his own speeches. that was one part of it. the second speech writing task was what we called suggested remarks. i wound up working on this form a lot. nixon normally preferred to speak without any notes. he welcomed, however, research and background material in the form of what he would call
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nuggets, if i remember the word right. variety of material. statistics, anecdotes, jokes, if we could do them. quotations. slogans. parables, historical references, memories. personal memories. we would send him often nine or ten of these little short items, maybe three or four pages of material. kind of smorgasbord. we used to think of it as sort of tasty little morsels from which he could select a few and weave them into his extemporaneous remarks. sometimes we'd hit the jackpot and he would use everything and other times we would strike out completely. that was all part of the speech writing process, per se. speech writing was only one part of it, however. a lot of what we did finally appeared in written form. one example would be the president's long messages to congress where he would lay out in detail the administration's legislative proposals.
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there were countless other documents. ken and i were talking about this earlier. announcements and appointments and reactions and directions and communiques and proclamations and executive orders, books and pamphlets, and introductions to books and pamphlets and letters and greetings. a lot of words to be massaged or written or rewritten or polished as the days passed by. part of our staff as well for the sake of completeness, i should say, involved presidential correspondents. that was a whole separate section reporting to the chief of the writing staff. then there was a very influential daily news summary prepared under pat buchanan's direction and linked for presidential press conferences. there was a very tenacious research staff which helped to produce the raw materials for this process and to verify its accuracy. i should mention that there was a lot of writing as well for other people, other members of the administration and people, supporters around the country. finally, if i could add a personal observation.
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i think that the senior staff and by that i probably mean chiefly, price, buchanan and sapphire. played important roles as general purpose advisors to the president in written memoranda and also in person. so a lot was going on. and it was exciting. we were dealing with a lot of different people, lot of different issues and a lot of different sections of the country. different parts of the world. we all came from very different backgrounds and outlooks. i think most projects were usually assigned to us individually. but my happy memory is that we also worked very well together. and i know we all feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to be there at that time. and it's really great to come back together this afternoon and have a chance to talk a bit more about it all. so that's the overview. and let me at this point then call upon the first person to join the nixon staff at this time, pat buchanan. he came to the staff in the midst of a rather incredible period in american history and a rather remarkable moment in
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richard nixon's life because that was the moment when he was really beginning his comeback efforts. pat, you want to set the stage for us. >> right. you go back to 1964 and the republicans, of course, as you folks know were completely wiped out by lyndon johnson. reduced to 140 seats in the house. richard nixon was a two-time loser. he had been defeated in 1960, defeated in '62. partly because of the cuban missile crisis interrupted his momentum. i joined up in late 1965. i was the first full-time staffer other than rosemary woods in his office. and our office was a tiny enclave off from the vice president's office. we called him the boss then. the vice president's office. and whom a lady who called herself pat ryan helped out with the phones. pat ryan was mrs. richard nixon. she worked helping out with the phones and i bummed an awful lot of cigarettes from her over those years.
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but let me take you up -- in 1966, nixon was the most avid campaigner for the republican party across the country. he went to 80 states or excuse me, 35 states, 80 congressional districts and we won 47 house seats and nixon had predicted this victory and all of a sudden he was alive again as a potential candidate in 1968. although most of the national media had written him off. let me talk briefly now about that campaign of 1968 where ray price and i and some folks out here in this audience flew every day and were -- every day of that campaign were with him. ray and i started off on a plane, i think it was the 31st of january in order to file in new hampshire on the last day for filing in the new hampshire primary. it was a horrible snowstorm, but when we got to new hampshire and mr. nixon was put to bed for the night in nashua.
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you found out that something going on in vietnam was known as the tet offensive. that offensive lasted for weeks and was a political disaster in the united states as it was a military disaster for the vietcong. walter cronkite basically broke with the president johnson over the war because of the offensive and it completely guided the country and flamed the anti-war movement. within three weeks after nixon had filed, our opponent, george romney, dropped out of the race. the father of mitt romney. because we were leading him in our own closet polls 7-1. then came the new hampshire primary and the startling perceived upset of lyndon johnson by gene mccarthy. actually johnson won the race 49-42 and johnson was a write-in candidate. but mccarthy's 42% was so dramatic that everyone said, the press said, president of the united states is in deep trouble.
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four days later, after that bobby kennedy who had stayed out of the race, he jumps into the race and i remember many people were bitter about that and said it was completely opportunistic. remember murray kempton said that bobby kennedy enerring this race proves that st. patrick did not drive all the snakes out of ireland. [ laughter ] that was -- he gets into the race and then we got nelson rockefeller supposed to get in and challenge us. he gets up and announces i'm not challenging nixon in the primaries. we look like we have a wide open course. still in march we are. at the end of march, lyndon johnson is going to give his major address on vietnam. he announces that he will not run again for president of the united states. tremendously dramatic event. meant hubert humphrey would be in the race with kennedy and mccarthy. four days later, martin luther king was assassinated in memphis. and i grew up in this town of
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washington, d.c. there were riots up the 7th street corridor, the 14th street corridor. the city was on fire and all over the country there were riots. it must have been a hundred cities. large and small riots. that continued three or four days. and then we came to may, and columbia campus, worst riots on the campuses of all those in the 1960s. and then came -- after one week after we won the oregon primary, with a tremendous victory, bobby kennedy was assassinated in los angeles after he won the california primary. then came the democratic convention in chicago. mr. nixon sent me out to observe. i was in what we call the comrade hilton hotel out there. when all hell broke loose right down in front of us in had grant park. democratic party coming apart in the streets of chicago. we were after our convention and humphrey's convention, we were leading humphrey 43-29, and
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george corely wallace was getting 23% of the vote. that is how polarized the country was. and we held that lead up until october 1, when hubert humphrey gave his famous speech in salt lake, saying i will -- i will create a bombing halt if approximate i'm elected, and the left wing of the democratic party and democratic party in all started to come together. and it was twice as large as our party in those days. so humphrey gained and gained and gained right up until election day when richard nixon won narrowly, 43-43. so he took office and came to town, and let me complete on this thought. the town he came to was utterly hostile to nixon. it had loved john f. kennedy, it had cherished bobby kennedy. both had been assassinated. richard nixon was located by the press. the bureaucracy was against him,
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built up during the new saturday, great deal, fair deal and predominantly democratic. for the first time since zachary taylor, both houses of the congress were against the united states. and as i said, the media loatheed richard nixon. a lot of them did. and others did not like richard nixon. here was the final problem. you go down the east coast, go to the boston globe, providence journal, hartford current, new york times, baltimore sun, philadelphia inquirer, washington post, anti nixon all of them. three networks. two-thirds of the american people depended on the network news of those three networks as their primary source of news and information about the president of the united states. all were hostile to richard nixon. thus, the impairive of nixon to communicate over, through and around this filter, which many of us saw as distorted in order to communicate his ideas and
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keep the country united behind him. he did it by two things. one, the prime time address, primarily, and secondly, the national press conferences he would have in prime time, which were adversary proceedings. and it was in that environment that he wrote his inaugural address, which my friend here was the principle author. >> we have a little bit -- it may be one of the rhetorical high points of the presidency came in the opening minutes. but the inaugural address was widely perceived as addressing in the right way the kind of situation pat just described. and i think we have a little bit of it to share with you right now. >> the greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemak peacemaker. this honor now beckons america. the chance to help lead the world, at last, out of the valley of turmoil, and on to that high ground of peace that
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man has dreamed of since the dawn of civilization. if we succeed, generations to many could will say of us now living, that we mastered our moment. that we helped make the world safe for mankind. this is our summons to greatness. and i believe the american people are ready to answer this call. >> historians point out a lot of people contributed -- i guess the archivists -- a lot of people contributed passages to that speech. but you were right there with the president putting it together. what's your recollection? >> should i get up -- >> welcome to stay there, if you like. >> true. he was his own chief speech writer. i had the title for the last two years of being head of the writing and research staff.
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but he from his earliest days on, he had been a champion debater in high school and college. he was more -- always more comfortable without a text. and my educated guess from the time i ran the shop was that about 1 out of 20 speeches was written. about 19 out of 20 were not, and he never used notes. different from most of what you see today. he would know what he wanted to say, he would have it well in his mind. he would have planned it all out. he would have made a lot of notes. and we would always provide him what he called -- what we called suggested remarks. these always had to be limited in size, but it would include, as you heard the -- some ideas, some thoughts, some possible language, some anecdotal material, which could help make his points. but essentially his speeches were his speeches, not our speeches. i've dealt over the years since
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with -- i belong to a lot of these associations of writers and so forth, and journalistic things. i'm a journalist myself by profession. and i keep running into writers for other -- for other administrations who like to brag about how they got the president to -- without his realizing it, put forth their agendas. i consider my -- one of my functions when i was running the staff making sure that as we circulate the drafts and so forth for comment that what the president would say would be what he wanted to say, not what somebody else was trying to trick him into saying. which happens too often, i think, in that field today. and -- but -- he had a phenomenal mind. and you can't understand the nixon presidency without understanding the depth and the dexterity of his mind. and he was always thinking strategically and always strategi
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strategizing. he would do it quietly and by himself most of the time. but when we got into the writing -- into the writing thing for things he was going to -- for speeches he was going to make, preparing our suggested remarks, as we called them, and coming up with things that might be of use to him, it was always with that in mind that we were not trying to dictate what he would say or what it would mean, but rather trying to provide him with material that would help him flesh out his own ideas. and trying to protect him from having other people's ideas slipped in without his knowledge or approval. which would say was part of our job. we also had a very important unit of the -- what we called the writing and research department, which we took over -- we took over the same three people from the johnson administration. the research department. three women headed by a woman named dillinger. and their job was to make sure that everything that came out in
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written or spoken form from the white house was factually correct. and seal had come from time, inc. i had been at "life" magazine myself, so i was familiar with this process. that is, they had red dots and black dots. every word had to have a dot over it. a red dot for most things -- a black dot for most things, a red dot for any number or name or anything that required special precision, which would have had to be double checked. and that was a huge benefit to us, having that skill, and those three women doing it, to make sure we did not make the kind of mistakes that too often get made in washington. but again, the writing process with him was -- i was his principle collaborator on both inaugurals and is all state of the unions, and thursday night oval office address, announcing he would resign the following
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day. i would rather not have had that final address necessary, but as long as it was, i was glad to be the one helping him on it. and by the time we got that one done, we had pretty much what he wanted to say for it, and i kept hoping that he would -- it was such an emotional final week for him that he would -- he would be able to hold up delivering it, and luckily he did. >> we'll see a bit of that speech later on. going back to the inaugural address, one of the other key passages, which i think had originated with your writing, if i'm not mistaken, had to do with some people here may remember with the admonition to lower our voices. and that was in the context as pat has described it, that -- those words really rang out much louder than you would expect. it was admonition to calm down and to think and to listen. we start listening to one another, rather than shouting at


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